Tag Archives: Jack Pappas

The Invention of Liberalism

by Jack Pappas

Liberalism has recently become a shibboleth for everything that is wrong with our present age, with critics in the in the academy and the media as well as the political establishment.

For the global Left, the term “liberalism” has become a kind of shorthand used to identify everything from the evils of the contemporary incarceration and national security state, to the neoliberal corrosion of the democratic public sphere, and to the exploitive (and ecologically catastrophic) reign of predatory capitalism. For the global Right, “liberalism” has come to signify the root cause of everything from declining religiosity to the destabilization of a common social fabric rooted in “traditional” family life and “Western” cultural homogeneity.

That liberalism would undergo such an apparently sudden shift in its cultural and political cachet, from a position of unquestioned dominance to a widespread object of scorn is, however, not unsurprising nor altogether unwarranted. Yet, the content of these various critiques couldn’t be more dissimilar, and it precisely this dissimilarity which reveals a need for greater clarification and rigor about the usage of “liberalism” as a catch-all object of critique, and in turn raises questions about how Christians ought to think about liberalism and its critics. Continue reading

Theology in a “Post-Truth” Landscape

by Jack Louis Pappas

The last year has seen an overwhelming number of think-pieces and public reflections on the collapse of facts. Indeed, even for the most casually engaged individual, the term “post-truth” has gained an undeniable familiarity within the collective lexicon. We have been reminded with ever-increasing frequency that despite legions of assembled “fact checkers,” the public seems all too willing to give “[itself] over to all kinds of magical thinking, anything-goes relativism, and belief in fanciful explanation—small and large fantasies that console or thrill or terrify us.”

While much of this analysis has focused upon the populist and ideological reasons for the embrace of post-truth in the political arena, few seem to have noticed the ways in which our “post-truth” reality has disrupted our religious communities and the very act of thinking theologically. Continue Reading…